first published on December 5, 2017 by Will
A Syrian Army BMP-2 erupts into a massive fireball after Free Syrian Army rebels target it with a BGM-71 TOW missile.
The video is produced by the previously openly Western-backed insurgent group Jaysh al Nasr, or the Army of Victory, and was reportedly shot in the first couple days of December, 2017 around Rabdah, in Hama province.
Dismounted regime troops can be seen in the distance walking to and from the vehicle, likely refilling the light armored vehicle with supplies, fuel, and ammunition. The TOW missile makes hard, direct impact, and the explosion launches debris in all directions.
The video then skips through two edited clips. First, a flare up occurs, likely burning the diesel stored in the rear door reserve fuel compartments of the BMP-2. Then, the video skips forward again, likely several minutes, and a massive fireball explosion erupts into the air. The vehicle had probably been just restocked with ammunition that cooked off, detonating all at once. The rebels chant their cliché millionth uttering of the Takbir as the wreckage burns.
While the light armor of the infantry fighting vehicle can withstand most small arms fire, it is practically useless against even basic RPG-7 shaped charge warheads, so the BGM-71 TOW missile makes incredibly short work of the vehicle.
The Jaysh al Nasr group was supplied with these American-made anti tank guided TOW missiles under the Obama Administration, but it isn’t clear if the weapon used in this video is a leftover from that arming program or part of a continued, yet covert arm and equip operation by the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or any of the other Sunni insurgent-supporting Arab Gulf states.
The FSA rebel group is comprised of at least a dozen smaller insurgent factions, and depending on who you talk to, is often considered a “moderate” organization. Yet, they maintain a practical alliance with hardline Islamist groups like Ahrar ash Sham and HTS (Tahrir ash Sham), which is the relatively new al Qaeda affiliate in Syria.